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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Hanoi

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Hanoi each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Eve (national)

The European New Year is especially celebrated by younger people in Vietnam. In Hanoi, as in other major cities in the country, they head to the city centre for a drink. Around midnight, the streets fill: everyone awaits the countdown and the traditional fireworks display.

January 28: Lunar New Year (national)

Tet, or the lunar calendar New Year's (Chinese), is a major event in Vietnam. The festivities begin every year on the first day of the first lunar month and last one week. During the Tet holiday, shops close, people return to their hometown to visit their parents and pay homage to their ancestors. Families and friends gather to eat traditional meals, and houses are decorated with yellow flowers.

February 2-12: Co Loa Festival (local)

The spiral-shaped citadel of Co Loa, a jewel of military architecture, celebrates the reign of its founder, An Duong Vuong (214-208 BC) every year from the 6th to 16th day of the first lunar month. Located 16 kilometres north of Hanoi, the citadel is the scene of spectacular processions and religious rites. The event is also lively, with traditional performances by night and popular games by day: chess with human pawns, cockfights, rice-cooking contests, ritual dances, and more.

April 6: Anniversary of the death of the first Hung Emperor (national)

The death of the first known king of Vietnam is celebrated on the tenth day of the third month of the lunar calendar. Festive commemorations take place, especially in front of the temple of the Emperor, in Hanoi.

April 30: Anniversary of Reunification (national)

This date marks the end of the two Indochinese wars, with France and the United States. On this occasion, military parades and sporting contests are held.

May 1: International Labour Day

This is actually a very busy day in Vietnam! Numerous tourists, notably from China, enjoy visiting the country from early May. Shops, restaurants, and tourist sites are in full swing.

September 2: National Day of the Socialist Re-public of Vietnam

This holiday commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam by Ho Chi Minh. Official speeches are given and military parades take place. Big cities are adorned with the colours of the country and pay tribute to the founder of the current Vietnamese Communist Party and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (became Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976).

October 4: Mid-Autumn Festival (national)

On the occasion of the moon festival, the Vietnamese eat crescent moon-shaped cakes, made ​​of glutinous rice flour and stuffed with lotus seeds. In the evening, the children walk with lanterns in the shape of dragons, unicorns, and carp to the sound of drums and cymbals in the city streets. Dance performances and traditional music are also held outdoors during the day.

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Hanoi

The weather in Hanoi is humid subtropical. It is marked by cool periods, followed by very hot and humid months. The mild months of March, April, October, November and December, never scorching hot and usually dry, are the best times to visit Hanoi.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 14/57 21/70 17/0.6 Not the best period to go
February 15/59 22/72 27/1.0 Good period to go Good period to go
March 18/64 24/75 37/1.4 Good period to go Good period to go
April 21/70 29/84 80/3.1 Good period to go Good period to go
May 24/75 33/91 195/7.7 Not the best period to go
June 27/80 34/93 238/9.4 Not the best period to go
July 27/80 34/93 332/13.1 Not the best period to go
August 27/80 33/91 342/13.4 Not the best period to go
September 25/77 32/89 253/10.0 Not the best period to go
October 23/73 30/86 98/3.8 Good period to go Good period to go
November 19/66 27/80 42/1.6 Good period to go Good period to go
December 16/61 23/73 19/0.7 Good period to go Good period to go
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Hanoi-Noi Bai International Airport

The Hanoi-Noi Bai International Airport is about 45 kilometres (28 miles) north of the city centre.

  • Two terminals:
    • Terminal 1
    • Terminal 2 (Air France)

Getting from the airport to Hanoi and back:
  • By car
    • The city centre of Hanoi is roughly 50 minutes away from the airport (journey time is variable, depending on traffic).
    • Parking: short- and long-term parking spaces, for cars and motorbikes, located at the airport exit. Around VND 5,000 for 24 hours.
    • Rentals: several car rental companies have counters at the airport. Warning: even though the international driver's license is valid since 2015, it must be accompanied by a translation in Vietnamese, certified by the local police. A Vietnamese guide is also to board your vehicle. It would be recommended to hire a driver instead.
  • By bus
    Three bus lines connect the Noi Bai Airport to downtown Hanoi.
    • Bus line 7 goes to the west side of Hanoi. It takes about an hour to reach Kim Ma station and runs daily every 15 to 20 minutes from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tickets cost VND 5,000 and are sold by the bus driver. Bulky baggage may cost you VND 1,000 per bag. The bus stop is located on your right next to the arrivals area.
    • Bus line 17 goes to the Long Bien hotel district. It runs daily every 15 to 20 minutes from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Warning: the 17 bus line bypasses the city. Depending on traffic, the trip can take up to two hours. Tickets cost VND 5,000 and are sold by the bus driver. Bulky baggage may cost you VND 1,000 per bag. The bus stop is located on your right next to the arrivals area.
    • Since mid-2016, the new bus line 86 offers more modern transportation conditions (and free Wi-Fi). It connects terminals 1 and 2 (2nd floor of the departures hall) to the Hanoi central station in only 45 minutes. They mark 8 more stops along the way and leave every 20 to 30 minutes, depending on flight arrivals. It is operated from 5:10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (from the train station) and 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (from the airport). VND 30,000 per person per way.
  • By taxi
    Taxis are available outside the airport. The fare to the city centre is VND 250,000. Please note: only use official taxis. The cab must have a meter and the driver must be able to present a photo ID, showing his name and license number.
  • Services: Shops, bars and restaurants, free Internet access (Wi-Fi), ATMs, currency-exchange office, banks, first aid centre and lounge area in the airport.
  • Website: www.hanoiairportonline.com

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GETTING AROUND Hanoi

Rickshaws are rare, forget about tourist folklore—opt instead for the bus, the perfect way to explore the city and its surroundings..

Car

Lack of signage in certain neighbourhoods, overloaded traffic in peak hours and parking problems: traffic in Hanoi can be hellish. And you need a Vietnamese driving license… Better avoid using a car during your visit.

Bus

Hanoi and the surrounding districts are crisscrossed by some 60 bus lines.

The most important lines run generally from 5:30 am to 1:00 a.m. every 15 to 20 minutes.

The best lines for sightseeing are line 14, which takes you near Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Town, lines 2, 9 and 33, which serve Le Hong Phong Street and Dien Bien Phu Street, where the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is located, and the neighbourhood of the great boulevards. Line 47, from Long Bien terminal, will take you to Bat Trang pottery village near Hanoi.

The price of a ticket varies between VND 3,000 and 10,000 on average, according to the line used and the distance travelled. Purchase tickets directly from the bus driver. At peak times (6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.), it is recommended to have the exact fare. It is best not to travel by bus (lines 7, 17 and 86 to the airport) with too much luggage.

Taxis

Taxis are a great way to get around Hanoi, if you take into account the potential difficulties related to traffic. The price of a trip is negotiable. On average, expect to pay VND 12,000 to 14,000 for the first 700 metres, then VND 15,000 per subsequent kilometre. Warning: there are over a hundred taxi companies in Hanoi. Stay away from unofficial taxis cabs: make sure the one you get into has a meter and that the driver has a photo ID, with his name and license number.

Motorcycle taxis

Motorcycle taxis are a quick and inexpensive way to travel around Hanoi. The motorcycle taxis parked on the sidewalks of the city are identifiable by the second helmet that the driver is holding. To ensure that it is a motorcycle taxi, ask the driver ‘Xe Om?' (pronounced ‘Che om?' and meaning ‘motorcycle taxi?'). The price for a trip is about half the price of a regular taxi, around VND 7,000 per kilometre. This means of transport is reliable. It is preferable to agree on the price and settle the race before leaving.

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Visitor information

Once you arrive in Hanoi, don't hesitate to be in touch with tourism professionals for information and help in organising your stay.

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address: 80, Quan Su District Hoan Kiem Hanoï, Vietnam
  • Telephone: +84 (0) 4 39 42 20 70
  • Website: www.vietnamtourism.com

Tourist Information Centre

The official tourist information centres provide a wealth of information on Hanoi.

  • Address: 7 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
  • Telephone: +84 (0)4 39 26 33 69
  • Website: www.vietnamtourism.com

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel. It is recommended to take out health insurance covering medical expenses abroad and the costs of repatriation before a trip to Vietnam. Hanoi counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.

Vaccinations

The update of diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccines before departure is recommended.

Other vaccinations, such as those against hepatitis A and B and typhoid are also recommended (see your physician).

For long stays, it is recommended to get a rabies vaccination.

For more information, contact the Air France Vaccination Centre:

Water

It is recommended to drink bottled water.

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Administrative formalities

Entry requirements for French citizens

Since June 30th, 2016, French citizens no longer need a visa for journeys less than 15 days (travelling included).

For longer stays, or to cross borders within 15 days, a visa is mandatory.

There is a 30-day waiting period to re-enter Vietnam after your visit if you do not hold a visa.

French passports must be valid for 6 months after the end of your stay in Vietnam. To travel serenely in Hanoi and Vietnam, follow the travel advice of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/conseils-par-pays/vietnam

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Useful addresses

Vietnamese Embassy in France:

French Embassy in Vietnam

  • Address: 57 Tran Hung Dạo Hang Bai Hoan Kiem Hanoï, Vietnam
  • Telephone: +84 (0)4 39 44 57 00
  • Website: www.ambafrance-vn.org

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Essential phrases

Here are a few useful phrases in Vietnamese for your stay in Hanoi.

Hello: Xin chao

Good evening: Chuc ngu ngong

Good bye: Tam biet

Yes: Co

No: Khong

No, thank you: Toi khong muon, we cam

Thank you very much: Cam is

I don't understand: Toi khong noi tieng viet

Could you repeat that?: Ban co the lap lay

Please: Xin me

What time is it?: May gio king?

Excuse me?: Xin law

Airport: San bay

Train station: Tram

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Khach san

Hospital: Benh vien

Bank: Ngan hang

Telephone: Dien thoai

I am (...): Toi (…)

I'm looking for (...): Toi nhin (…)

What is the price of (...)?: Bao nhieu (…)?

Do you have (...)?: Ban co (…)?

Where can I find (...)?: Noi ma toi co the tim thay (…)?

Where can I buy (...)?: Noi ma toi co the mua (…)?

I would like (...): Toi se (…)

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Good to know

00 84
+ phone number without (0)
0 : 00
of time difference with
Bangkok
There is no daylight savings time in Vietnam.

BANKS
Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES
Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
220 V / 50 Hz

Tipping
Tipping is not mandatory in Vietnam, but it is appreciated. You can leave an additional 10 to 15% of the amount of the bill in bars and restaurants. Tips are also welcomed by staff at hotels and spas, and by tour guides and taxi drivers.

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